Columbia, S.C. – January 21, 2009 – Gov. Mark Sanford today issued the following statement on the Senate Republican Caucus’ reform agenda:
“The ideas of spending caps, restructuring and greater transparency are things this administration has pushed for a long time, and we’re incredibly pleased that Senate Republicans are making these issues a top priority this year,” Gov. Sanford said. “I’d give particular credit to Senator Peeler and Senator Verdin for their advocacy on this front, because I think it will make a world of difference in moving these ideas over the finish line. There’s so far been an encouraging degree of agreement between this administration, the Senate and the House on what the priorities for this session need to be, and we’re hopeful that trend continues during the coming months.”
SC SENATE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS UNVEILS REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY AGENDA ON YOUTUBE
Columbia, SC – January 16, 2009 – Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) today announced the Senate Republican Caucus’ 2009 first agenda package in an innovative form for South Carolina politics – posted on the website youtube.com. The “Sunshine in South Carolina” package centers around legislation that will bring accountability, transparency and efficiency to state government. Job losses and economic troubles are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. South Carolina has been hit uniquely hard as we now have the third worst unemployment rate in the nation and budget woes are forcing cuts in essential services. Reining in government spending, restructuring antiquated agencies and putting government practices under the microscope of public scrutiny are necessary steps toward getting the state back on the right track.
Senator Peeler noted, “Across the nation, families are suffering during this economic crisis. South Carolina has been hit hard by this global economic downturn. I’m going to be honest. A lot of this is out of our hands. We can’t fix Wall Street, Detroit or Washington”.
Peeler continued, “However, we can make South Carolina a more attractive place to do business. We know what creates jobs and stimulates our economy. Lower taxes grow our economy. An educated and trained workforce, a strong infrastructure and healthy workers grow our economy. Most importantly, compromise, teamwork and a coordinated strategy grow our economy. But sometimes government itself stands in the way of getting the job done. We realize that we will not be able to meet our funding needs and create jobs until we reform government.”
Along with fellow Caucus members Senators Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), Larry Martin (R-Pickens), Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson), Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) and Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster), Peeler introduced the legislative agenda via Youtube and the Caucus website www.scsenategop.com. In keeping with the theme of the agenda, this is a new way to make government more available to the press and constituents, alike.
“Sunshine in South Carolina” is not the full agenda being pushed by the Senate Republican Caucus in 2009, but just the first in a push to make state government more accountable to the taxpayers. Healthcare, transportation, energy, tax reform and education plans that will grow South Carolina’s economy will be announced throughout the session.
The “Sunshine in South Carolina” reform package includes:
Placing a cap on state government spending would likely have prevented, or at least limited, the significant cuts to state agencies’ budgets that we are seeing today. Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell has championed legislation to establish a limit on spending based upon a ten-year rolling average of revenue growth coming into the state’s coffers. Any money in excess of the ten-year average growth rate would be set aside in a “rainy day fund,” which would be used to weather the storm of years when revenue is decreasing.
On The Record Voting (ACCOMPLISHED)
With the exception of South Carolina, every state in the Southeast requires a recorded vote on every bill prior to its passage. Forty-five states nationwide require a recorded vote in their constitution or through procedural requirements. The South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus has championed a new rule requiring recorded votes that will give taxpayers a clear picture of how their elected officials are voting and how their money is being spent.
Now more than ever, during this economic crisis, we must ensure that the General Assembly is spending every single tax dollar wisely. Senator Shane Massey has proposed that every member take responsibility for the “pet” projects that are slipped into the annual appropriations bill. Massey’s “Appropriations Bill Earmark Disclosure Act” will be a top priority for the Caucus to strengthen accountability.
Online Check Register
Wasteful spending of tax dollars breeds contempt for those in government who are supposed to responsibly and efficiently make use of those dollars. When many South Carolinians are struggling to pay their power bills, they don’t want to hear that their hard-earned money is going to fund trips to the Florida coast. If every governmental agency, both local and state, were required to post their expenditures online for all to see, most would take careful consideration as to how they utilize those funds. Under Senators Larry Grooms’ and Kevin Bryant’s plan, any expenditure over $100 would have to be posted on the Comptroller General’s website, complete with the dollar amount, the employee’s name, and the purpose behind the expense. With this level of transparency, misuse of tax dollars will be easily exposed, and with any hope, it will one day be eliminated.
3. Good Government
The Department of Administration
The efficiency of government is critical to the well being of our state, especially during harsh economic times. The state’s Budget & Control Board is a management entity unlike any other in the country. In fact, South Carolina is the only state without a cabinet agency overseeing many of the state’s day-to-day operations. Last year, the proposed creation of a new Department of Administration nearly became a reality. Senators Larry Martin and Chip Campsen lead the effort to get the legislation out of Senate Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, the session came to a close before the full Senate could address the matter. Had that proposal passed, many of the Budget & Control Board’s functions and responsibilities would have been moved under the umbrella of the new cabinet agency. The plan has been reintroduced this year as Senate Bill S.208. As the state’s financial woes continue, what would be a better time than now to begin the transition to a more practical and efficient form of government?
When the people of this state elect their chief executive officer, they do so with certain expectations. Be it fiscal policies, economic development, social stances or the ideals of how a government should be run, the Governor of South Carolina is elected to implement and execute the platform on which he campaigned. Many believe that in the model of good government, it is essential that the Governor and his “Lieutenant” share the same agenda. Others believe that the voters should pick the two leaders independently based on their character rather than their party affiliation. It is the belief of the Senate Republican Caucus that the voters should make the final decision in this debate. We will be pushing a plan to put the matter before the voters in the 2010 General Election.